Killer Animals, Live-Saving Cures: Why Venom Is Good For You
By Kat Meduski, FoxNews.com, 8/23/2010
You wouldn't want a deathstalker scorpion in your boot. But it could save your life. Tarantula venom may seem frightful. But medically speaking, it's awesome. And gila monster spit? Great stuff, if you have diabetes.
They're just a few examples of a fascinating area of research using the venom from the most dangerous creatures around. Step on one and it could kill you, but synthesize those toxins in the lab, and they could be used to save your life.
The University of Washington recently announced the latest breakthrough in this field, explaining how scorpion venom can be useful in treating brain cancer. Researchers found that chlorotoxin, an amino acid found in deathstalker scorpions, can slow the cancer's spread by blocking narrow channels in the brain through which malignant, shape-shifting cells can migrate.
But it's only the latest in a long line of scientific studies:
* Apitherapy -- the use of honey bee products -- has been used in treating multiple sclerosis patients. Controlled stinging around the spine brought back sensation and immune response, where numbing and desensitization had previously been crippling...